Memorial Day Weekend in Yardley, Newtown, Bucks County post.
Wanted to take a break from real estate posts, for today, and talk about the Memorial Day weekend, that we just finished. This weekend is always meaningful to me, becuase besides the obvious, I was married over the Memorial day weekend, in 1974! For those, including me, who are math challenged, that means that I just celebrated my 35th wedding anniversary. (May 25th, was the date)
Jane and I really had a nice weekend, and it is somewhat relevant to real estate, becuase if you are not really that familiar with where Yardley is, in Bucks County, there are very few areas in the country, where we could have spent part of the weekend in 2 great cities, litterally, just minutes away.
Saturday night, be drove into Philadelphia, which is an easy 30 minute trip, down 95. It was an absolutely perfect spring evening. We walked around Penns Landing, by the river, in Philadelphia, and had dinner at a pretty new restaurant, called Zahav. The restaurant was amazing! It is features absolutely declisious, Middle Eastern food, sort of typical of what you would find in a restaurant in Jerusalem. It is pretty reasonably priced, and is wonderful. We had amazing Pita & Humus, along with incredible chicken, lamb, vegetables and salads. It is a bit different, but you won’t be dissapointed if you try it.
Sunday afternoon, we drove up to New York, to see the show, “Next To Normal“, which was fantastic. Takes about 75 minutes, door to door, to drive into the city, on a non-traffic kind of day. We drove in early, and spent several houses strolling the flea markets, on Broadway, which was closed to traffic from about 35th all the way to Central Park. The show is a rock opera, of sorts, and features Alice Ripley, who actually performed with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, at the Trenton War Memorial show, almost 7 years ago. The play is about a dis-functional family, trying to take care of each other. It is really a great show!
So, we had a fantastic, anniversary weekend. Made me appreciate where we live, becuase besides having all sorts of wonderful things to do, right here in Bucks County, if you want to take advantage of cultural opportunities offered by big cities, Philadelphia and New York are just minutes away. It was a great way to celebrate our 35th anniversary. Now on to the next 35!Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Buying in Yardley & Newtown, Bucks County, how well do you know the contract?
So you have taken the plunge, and are out looking at houses. Most first time home buyers that I work with, really enjoy the process of going around and checking out houses. I think it is really important, especially if you have never been through the process before, to look at enough homes, that you become completely comfortable with values in the area that you are looking.
The only way that happens, is to look at houses. The more you see, the more you learn.
So lets say you have looked at enough homes, and you finally see something that you know is the right house for you! What next?
Well, the next step is to sign an offer. I find this to be one of the more stressful experiences in the process. In Pennsylvania, you are going to be presented with a 25 page contract, that is totally binding on all parties, once it is fully executed. In the overwhelming majority of cases, especially with first time home buyers, the first time you see the contract, is when it is put in front of you, and you are asked to sign it. What does it say, and does it protect you?
In an effort to make this process a little less intimidating, I thought it would be helpful to review a few of the more important contingincies in the agreement, so that you can be a bit more familiar with the contract, when you first see it. I also have several tools, that are available, that explain the agreement in detail.
The contingincies that most buyers worry about the most, are as follows:
- Mortgage Contingency
- Home inspection contingency
- Wood destroying insect contingency
- Radon contingency
- Planned community contingency
Basically, the contract says that if you are not able to obtain a mortgage according to the terms that you stipulate in the agreement, and at the interest rate you specifiy, then you have the right to void the contract, and your deposit money would be returned.
Home Inspection Contingency
This is probably the area of most concern to buyers. What happens if you find that something is wrong with the house. The answer is, that the purchase of the house is contingent on a home inspection. A building inspector will evaluate all components of the house that he/she can see. That will include, in most cases, walking the roof, checking out the HVAC system, the electrical system, plumbing, etc. The inspection is extremely thorough. Once you receive the home inspection report, generally there are 3 posibilities. The first is that the house is in perfect shape, and you proceed to closing. Secondly, you can decide that there are so many problems with the house, that you just don’t want to deal with them. In that case, you can actually elect to void the contract. Again, in that case, you would get your deposit money back. The third option would be to negotiate something whereby the seller agrees to either fix problems before closing, or agrees to give you a credit so that you can fix them after you move in. In that case, an addendum is added to the contract, reflecting the inspection agreement, and you move on to closing.
The contract is contingent on a radon inspection. This works pretty much like the home inspection. Bucks County does have houses with radon levels that are actionable. If the radon test shows actionable levels, then you have the right to either cancel the agreement, or to ask the seller to remediate the radon. If the seller is not willing to do the remediation, you have the right to cancel the agreement, and would again, be entitled to a return of your deposit money.
Wood Destroying Insect Report
Finally, the contract can be contingent on a wood destroying insect report. Once again, this works exactly the same way the other contingencies work, in that if there are wood destroying insects, you have the right to either cancel the agreement, or ask that the seller pay to treat for the wood destroying insects, so that the treatment occurs, prior to closing.
Please note, that there are other contingincies that are sometimes found in the contract, depending on the house you are considering. For example, if you buy a house that has on site septic, and/or a well for water, then the contract may be contingent on a septic inspection and water test. There may also be a contingency that allows you to review and approve planned community rules and regulations, if you are buying in a planned community or condominium neighborhood.
This post is not intended to provide you with legal advice. My point with this post, is to begin to familiarize you with the contract, so that when you get to the point where you are ready for an offer, you won’t be completely intimidated by the contract. As always, if you have other questions, or would like to see a copy of the entire contract, please contact me. In the meantime, please check out the consumers guide to the agreement of sale. I think you will find very worthwhile information in it.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
120 Forest Creek Ct. Upper Holland, Pa. 19053
120 Forest Creet Ct. Upper Holland, Pa. 19053
Welcome home to 120 Forest Creek Court, in Northampton Township, Bucks County. This custom built home, offers more than 5000 sq. ft of luxurious amenities, including a private, in-law suite that includes 2 bedrooms, a full bath, kitchen, living room, fireplace and kitchen.
Enter the dramatic, 2 story, entry foyer, and note the diagonally placed, Brazilian Maple hardwood floors. The family room is spacious and bright, also featuring high ceilings, along with a fireplace and gorgeous built-ins.
The kitchen will delight the cook in the family, with granite counters, custom tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances and island seating.
The master bedroom is elegant and spacious and includes a sumptuous bath with jacuzzi, and large, seperate shower.
Additionally, on the upper level there are jack & jill bedrooms, along with a princess suite, loft and laundry room.
The walk-out lower level apartment, with seperate entrance, is ideal for in-laws or as an au pair space. It is fully approved, and could also be rented.
The huge, wrap around deck, is perfect for warm weather cook-outs and entertaining.
This incredible house is situated on 2 glorious acres, just minutes from Newtown, and close to the Yardley-Newtown bypass, and 95, for easy commuting.
Please contact me for pricing as well as additional information.
Please see below for additional photo’s.
Bucks County, Yardley, Newtown Pa, tax appeals
As a follow up to my post yesterday, regarding the process of appealing property tax assessments, I saw that in the Bucks County Courier Times this morning, there was an interesting article about a large group of home owners in a specific neighborhood, who decided to appeal their property tax assessments.
The neighborhood is called, “Bluestone Creek“, and it is in Warrington Township. It is a newer developement, and many of the owners found, after moving in, that their tax assessments were based on values that were more than what they paid. As I pointed out in my post, yesterday, property taxes are unfavorably skewed against newer construction.
Home owners in this neighborhood, saved an average of 900.00 each, with their successful appeals.
As I observed yesterday, in my post, this article points out that it is not a complicated process to appeal your property taxes in Bucks County, if you feel that they are not fair, based on other homes of comparable value.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Property Taxes Too High in Bucks County? What to do about it.
I recently saw an article in a Mercer County, NJ newspaper, about the number of commercial property owners in Mercer County, who are unhappy with the property taxes they are paying. Given the challenges that municipalities are facing with budgets right now, the last thing they need are property owners trying to lower their taxes.
The article raised an intersting point, as it relates to property taxes specifically in Bucks County. With regards to property taxes in Bucks County, there are often relatively large differences between the property taxes that are paid on similarly valued properties. I often refer to this as inequities in property tax base. Theoretically, 2 houses that are worth exactly the same, that are in the same area, meaning that they are in the same County and Township, should pay the same property taxes.
In fact, in Bucks County communities, we often find that the above is not the case. The reason for that, is that there has not been a County wide reassessment, in decades. As a result, assesments on individual properties, can be skewed. As a general rule, they are unfairly biased against newer construction. That means that relative to value, newer houses generally pay more in property taxes, than older houses of comparable value. So the question is, are your taxes fair, relative to the value of your house, and if not, can you do anything about it?
In fact, it is relatively easy to appeal your property tax assessment, if you feel that it is unfairly high, relative to other houses of comparable value. Many home owners are not aware of the fact that they can appeal the property taxes that they are paying. The process is actually quite simple. All you need to do, to start the appeal process, is to complete the property assessessment appeal form, which is available on the Bucks County website and present it to the Board of Assessment Appeals office at the Court House in Doylestown. You will need information regarding property taxes of similar homes, in order to make your case. I can assist with gathering that information.
Another option, which is even easier, is to contact an attorney who specializes in filing tax appeals. I recently had a friend/client, who succeeded in an appeal in Lower Makefield Township, and saved several thousand dollars a year, on their property taxes. They hired an attorney, who took the case on a contingency basis, and took a percentage of the first years savings, as the fee.
If you would like more information about this process, or would like me to help you with gathering the information, please contact me at 215-519-1399, or send me an email.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Bucks County Pa Lower Makefield Township Market Report April 2009
Lower Makefield Township Bucks County Pa Real Estate Report April 2009
Looking at market statistics through March of 2009, it is clear that we still find a buyers market. There were 221 single family homes on the market, in Lower Makefield Township at the end of March. That was up from 185 at the end of February. There were 183 single family homes on the market in Lower Makefield Township, at the end of March, 2008. The average price of a home for sale at the end of March, was 554,000.
This compared with an average price for houses on the market of 557,000 at the end of March, last year.
Most importantly, especially for sellers, 34 homes have sold through the end of March this year, at 91% of the list price. That compares with 47 homes sold through the end of March last year. Those homes sold for 94% of the list price. You can see that, thus far, unit sales volume is down from a year ago, and the buyer discount has increased. There is currently an 11 month supply of houses in Lower Makefield. Markets are generally considered, “balanced” with a 6 months of inventory. The other critical statistic to consider, is average days on the market. With more than an 11 month inventory, not surprisingly, homes are taking longer to sell. Average days on the market is 66, compared with 62 last year.
With all of this information, please keep in mind that there were 34 homes that sold. If a house is priced correctly, shows well, and marketed correctly, it will sell. I recently had a listing that sold for 99% of the asking price, with multiple offers. If you are considering selling, it might be a good time to consult with a pro-active realtor, like me. I will make sure that we use high quality, professional photographs, and we carefully evaluate the market so that we can price your house correctly. Please contact Martin Millner, at 215-519-1399, for a free evaluation. Ask about my, ”450 Ideas to Get Your House Sold“, which I can bring with me, or email to you.
I will update other areas in Bucks County, in future posts.Continue Reading > Add a Comment